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Security Response

Doing the Impossible… For $37.99

Created: 22 Jun 2007 07:00:00 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:48:29 GMT
Ron Bowes's picture
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I recently stumbled upon a site that advertised an impossibleservice for Web sites: protecting a site's content from being copied,or "stolen." It's a service that is impossible. I know it's impossible,and that every Web developer knows is impossible. However, for only$37.99, this man offers to do it. At $37.99, it's a deal! And he hasall kinds of testimonials, not to mention snazzy clip-art on his site.

Of course, his solution, much like whitewashing over dirt, appearsto work. That is, until the paint starts peeling, or, in this case,until a user with any kind of experience realizes how easy it is tobypass these restrictions. I can think of a half-dozen waysimmediately, and none of them are difficult. Before long, the whitewashpeels off and the site administrator is left in the same situation theystarted in, only with $37.99 less.

Of course, there are no guarantees. You read the agreement, right?This type of service gives the site administrator a false sense ofsecurity. "If all these people trust the protection, it must work!"This may, in turn, cause the user to be less careful in other regards,which can cause problems down the road. Anyone who runs a Web siteshould understand the risks, and should not be fooled by some fancyclip-art.

Unfortunately, this type of "service" is all too common. In the realworld, you have to worry about buying a lemon. In the online world,it's the same thing. So next time you're thinking of buying that shinynew product that seems too good to be true, ask an expert. Otherwise,you might be buying a lemon of a solution, and throwing away your$37.99.